Cup of joy for West Norfolk ladies

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West Norfolk Ladies clinched a memorable Norfolk Cup triumph with two wins at the Big Rugby Weekend.The Gatehouse Lane outfit defeated higher-league Wymondham and hosts Diss in the final to lift the prestigious trophy on a sun-soaked Sunday.Coach Jane Middleton-Jones said “What a brilliant way to end an awesome season. It hasn’t all been easy, but how these women have evolved and stuck to the plan means they deserve this.”I want to thank all our supporters today – you spurred the team on.”Led by captain EJ Watson, the ladies were welcomed back fly-half Georgie Lingham from her time out with a broken hand after the Hong Kong Sevens. A strong squad included two sets of sisters and the mother-and-daughter combo of Charlotte and Raven Wales. West Norfolk faced old adversaries Wymondham in their first game of the day.With Wymondham playing direct, centre channel rugby, West started a strong front row of two county players in loose-head Jenna Moxey and hooker Rosie Lingham plus their super-fast tight-head Cora Hunter. Both sides made some handling errors while West also relied on strong defensive tackles from Ellen Collison and Lola Bunting to keep Wymondham from scoring.After several penalties for high tackles and some strong runs from Hunter and Number 8 Eleanor Navrady West finally had a good attacking platform. Inside-centre Sarah Hodgson switched with Georgie Lingham, who charged through to score under the posts and Jade Nicholson – the league’s top-scorer this season – slotted the conversion.A break from second-row Alice Middleton-Jones saw her shrug off three defenders. She had sister OJ on her right and one defender to beat – which she drew into the tackle and off-loaded neatly, only to drop the ball. This seemed to lift West Norfolk and good runs from forwards Rosie Lingham and Aaliyah Featherby gained the team yards.OJ Middleton-Jones charged down the line before offloading to Georgie Lingham who scored under the posts, and Nicholson converted. West came out strong in the second half, with the forwards dominating the lineouts and scrum-half Tiff Turner spoiling Wymondham plays.Powerful Ruth Denham was rock-solid in the middle channels working well with Moxey and Hunter to tie up the Wymondham forwards and give the backs the space they needed. Although Wymondham replied with an unconverted try, Rosie Lingham was seemingly everywhere, turning over balls and making charging runs with sister Georgie. One of these runs saw an offload from Denham and Rosie Lingham spilt the Wymondham defence to score.Denham was key again in the next move as Moxey went over the line to complete a 24-5 success.Against Diss in their second outing, West Norfolk introduced a whole new front row of Charlotte Wales, Emma Faulkner and Ella Fuller-Saunders, and changed the game plan to a forwards’ game.It worked a treat when, after nine minutes, Georgie Lingham crashed through three defenders for the first try, converted by Nicholson.Charlotte Wales and Ella Fuller-Saunders put on an old-school front-row masterclass while Rosie Lingham and Eleanor Navrady made constant line-breaks.Tries from EJ Watson and Charlotte Wales, both converted by Nicholson, gave West Norfolk a 21-0 advantage at the break.More training moves were pulled out when Denham and Rosie Lingham combined for a quick tap-and-go on the five-metre line, resulting in a well-deserved try for Denham.Georgie Lingham stretched her legs once more to weave through players to score her fourth try of the day and, unsurprisingly, Nicholson converted.Number 8 Eleanor Navrady, capped an impressive performance in the two games by going over for a try, with Nicholson adding the extras.Diss replied but the final play belonged to West, with the last play of the match as Hodgson added the final score to wrap up a 47-5 win.West Norfolk Ladies will continue to train every Wednesday throughout the summer between 6:45pm and 8:30pm at Gatehouse Lane.

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